Thursday, August 11, 2005


Monday Morning Intelligence with Kool Aid and the NY Times - UPDATE

Followup to previous post.

NY Times: 9/11 Commission's Staff Rejected Report on Early Identification of Chief Hijacker

Ok, I've been on the phone now for...oh, about three days, to some old chums in Tampa, checking this story out, asking questions,...etc. So far what I've heard is that IF this story is true, then those who are really in the know in the Intel world are feeling like a bunch of little red-hair step-childred.

Ed. Morissey is ready to hang the 911 Commission out to dry......mmm,

Ed, not so fast my friend.

Again, I am amazed at the vercacity the NY Times and AP is getting on this story, and from the same conservative bloggers who are normally parsing every "dot and tittle" the Times puts out. Who would think?...

Yeah, there is a lot of "anger" because of "Gorelick" fever where the blogshere and conservative media rightfully called attention to her conflict of interest while serving on the commission. But we can't let the "gotcha-Gorelick" to overtake a little objectivity.

First, on Ed's point at the end of his point, I believe the second NYT Headline is the more correct:

"9/11 Commission Staff Rejected Report on Early Identification of Chief Hijacker"

But not for any other reason except that the commission heard the officer, but thought he was full of crap.

How can that be so hard to understand? Obviously the staffer didn't push the information up the chain. The question is why? That's a good guestion, but at this point I'm going to take a guess and say that they were probably getting all kinds of information at the time, so they evaluated it and found it "wanting", or at least doubtfull. In hindsight it looks shaky, but as I point out below there is a lot of shakiness to this story.

" Mr. Felzenberg said the commission's staff remained convinced that the information provided by the military officer in the July 2004 briefing was inaccurate in a significant way.

"He wasn't brushed off," Mr. Felzenberg said of the officer. "I'm not aware of anybody being brushed off. The information that he provided us did not mesh with other conclusions that we were drawing" from the commission's investigation.

The Sept. 11 commission issued its final report on July 22, 2004. Mr. Felzenberg noted that the interview with the military officer had taken place in the final, hectic days before the commission sent the report to the printers, and said the meeting reflected a willingness by the commission to gather facts, even at the last possible minute.

"Lots of stuff was coming in over the transom," Mr. Felzenberg said. "Lots of stuff was flying around. At the end of the day, when you're writing the report, you have to take facts presented to you."

Now this is where Ed and some others are saying, "No, you didn't include it because it didn't "fit" the pre-conceived notions of the report."

Maybe Ed. Then again, maybe they just didn't believe the report. The latter (like it or not) is more likely the case here. I mean, why all the way from 2000, to 2003 (1 Blank line), then nothing until days before the report was released (yet another blank line), did we not hear a peep between the black lines?

In addition these pesky little "anonymous sources" again....grrrr

For instance the ONLY evidence we have that "Able Danger" tried to tell the the FBI in the Summer of 2000, at this point is te words of Senator Weldon himself.

"Mr. Weldon and a former defense intelligence official who was interviewed on Monday have said that the Able Danger team sought but failed in the summer of 2000 to persuade the military's Special Operations Command, in Tampa, Fla., to pass on to the Federal Bureau of Investigation the information they had gathered about Mr. Atta and the three other men. The Pentagon and the Special Operations Command have declined to comment, saying they are still trying to learn more about what may have happened."

That's an understatement. No one I've talked to at the SOC knows anything about "Able Danger" - what they were doing, who they were reporting to, etc. Man! This must have been SOME secret unit!

As jim geraghty at NRO puts it:

"I don't know. Weldon seems to indicate he's got multiple sources on this, according to the Times:

Weldon said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that he had spoken with three team members, all still working in the government, including two in the military, and that they were consistent in asserting that Mr. Atta's affiliation with a Qaeda terrorism cell in the United States was known in the Defense Department by mid-2000 and was not acted on.

This is in addition to the former intelligence official. Four government guys, and a document shown to the AP? I don't know if everything is exactly as Weldon says it, but there's clearly something here."

Yeah....but what? We've got anonymous intel guys, anonymous sources showing "documents" to an anonymous AP reporter. There are a lot of sources, but not a lot of verification except from MSM.

In addition no one else - at the Pentagon, FBI, CIA or MI, or anywhere else for that matter is verifying this. In fact, I find it noteworthy that no one "in the business" ever heard of Able Danger, much less who and what they identified. I mean no who except this "anonymous" intel officer and "three former members" who can't be named because, well, it's a secret...."shuuush!"

But apart from all that. Don't forget we are looking at this POST 9/11. Nothing that has been presented yet comes close to the actual plan executed on 9/11 - nothing!

Yet for argument's sake, let's say that there was some intel on Atta, and that some secret unit did "peg" him. Then they tried to get this info to the FBI in the summer of 2000, but got chopblocked by the JD. So, they disbanded the unit, stuffed and stuffed the info under the rug until October of 2003, nearly two years after 9/11?

Call me "quirky", but this doesn't wash. There are a LOT of holes in this story and it's a bit disconcerting to see so many "JUMP" on so many anonymous and unconfirmed sources.

Look, as a former member of Army Intel, I would love to say, "Hey look! Our intelligence was doing the job but that damn Clinton/Gorelick wall stopped us from ringing the bell!"

That would be great because I think we took a little too much on the chin for 9/11.

But I'm sorry Weldon's story doesn't completely wash - nope, not at all.

Again, can't wait for a thorough looking over - hopefully by Senate Committee. As for others, if I were you, I'd wait and see before executing the "meme" cannon just yet.

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